Perth student wins first Engineering Memorial Award

A Perth College UHI student has won the first ever Sidney Black Memorial Engineering Award.

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Iliana Dimitrova

The Award, which is open to students across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership, is offered to a graduating female engineering student who has demonstrated a combination of academic achievement, personal attributes or a contribution to society or student life. It has been donated to the university by Lois Gray - Academic Lead Developer for Engineering at North Highland College UHI, in memory of her late father.

2021 winner Iliana Dimitrova (21) is originally from Bulgaria now living and studying Aircraft Engineering at Perth.

Iliana explained: “My experience with the University of the Highlands and Islands has provided me with incredible opportunities to expand my knowledge, practical skills and develop more interests in combustion, aerodynamics and fluid dynamics. Receiving the Sydney Black Memorial Engineering Award serves as an extra dose of motivation to perform even better in Year 4, to pursue postgraduate studies in renowned institutions in the UK and US and continue working on research.”

Lois added: "I donated this Sidney Black Memorial Award in honour of my father, who was a pioneering engineer and supporter of women in engineering. He inspired my own successful career, and this award is to encourage fledgling female engineers to achieve their full potential. Iliana Dimitrova is a truly worthy first winner of this award. Her dedication to Aircraft Engineering is exceptional, with high academic achievement, participation in valuable, industry-led research, and engagement with prestigious engineering societies.

“She is an ambitious, yet humble, young lady who is a shining role model and ambassador. I am delighted that Iliana chose to study at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and I wish her well for what I am sure will be a stellar career."

Jennifer Brickwood, Sector Development Director: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, explained: “Iliana is a dedicated, motivated and exceptional young woman. She has pushed herself to learn more and achieve the very best of grades throughout her time at the University. Iliana also undertook a work placement in both her 3rd and 4th year receiving excellent feedback from her hosts and was therefore able to complete work-based projects in both years.

“We are exceptionally proud of Iliana and her achievements and wish her all the best for her future career following completion of her programme.”

Alison Wilson, head of development at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “The university is extremely grateful to donors like Lois who provide much needed scholarships, prizes and awards to benefit talented students. As the impacts of COVID-19 continue, students’ need for financial support has increased.”

Further details of how to support the university’s student campaign can be found at: